TEMPE, Ariz — “Do your job” is a phrase that was echoed by coaches throughout Arizona State’s practice facility on Wednesday.
No. 23 Arizona State (1-0) welcomes the UNLV Rebels (0-1) and their potent rushing attack to Tempe on Saturday.
UNLV running back Charles Williams totaled 172 rushing yards on 27 carries (6.4 per rush) and added two touchdowns in an overtime loss to Eastern Washington in Week 1.
“He is a very good running back,” linebackers coach Chris Claiborne said. “It is a test for us, we look forward to showing up and honestly just getting better as a unit. Just building as much depth to our unit as a group.”
The rush defense for the Sun Devils was strong in Week 1 against Southern Utah, allowing 78 yards on 26 carries (3.0 per rush) but did allow two touchdowns.
“At the end of the day we are just trying to strive for perfection,” Claiborne said. “It is always going to be me pushing on them to honestly just do your job. Sometimes doing your job doesn’t always mean just making an interception or a great play, doing your job is being where you are supposed to be. We are trying to push every day to have assignment sound football.”
The “do your job” memo could partially be because of the 13 penalties, 11 in the first half against Southern Utah, the most in the Herm Edwards era.
The linebacker room is one of the most experienced on the field with seniors Kyle Solle and Darien Butler being two of the three defensive captains. The captains are joined by senior Merlin Robertson, Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year three seasons ago.
Claiborne spoke on how Solle fits the role despite being next to two of the better linebackers in the conference.
“Honestly it is not always about a big splash, it is about doing your job,” he said. “When Coach Pierce calls your number, make a play.
“Ultimately I want all of them to be that same guy… It is about doing your job.”
A group that excelled at doing their job in the first game was the tight ends.
Although the tight ends totaled just two receptions for 56 yards in the Week 1 win, the blocking in the run game was a vital part of the team’s success.
Backup tight end Case Hatch was one of the most important players in the game without even showing up on the stat sheet.
“Case is one of the team leaders and one of the captains,” interim tight ends coach Juston Wood said. “He does that on offense, special teams and for the entire team. You get credit by the team. Coach Herm and offensive coordinator coach Hill are awesome, going out of their way to give the guys compliments.
“Those may be things the fans do not see, (but) if you are in this building or in the program, you notice those things. In general just to be one of those guys that does their 1/11th, that is going to do their job.”
The Sun Devils enter Saturday’s game against UNLV as 33.5 point favorites, but if the Pac-12 learned anything in the opening week, it is to not take anyone lightly.
Kickoff will be Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2 and 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.